Mayor Eric Adams on Monday dismissed a report claiming he allegedly tipped off ex-city Building Commish Eric Ulrich to a gambling probe tied to the aide — saying it all sounded like a plot from “Goodfellas.”
Ulrich, a career politician who is now the subject of a Manhattan grand jury proceeding, allegedly informed investigators that Adams told him in May 2022 to “watch your back and watch your phones” — months before the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seized his cell and interrogated him for hours about a criminal gambling investigation, according to the Daily News.
Adams denied the accusation at a Monday press conference.
“I was reading that article, and I felt like it was a reboot of ‘Goodfellas,’ ” Adams said, referring to the 1990 hit mob flick. “I had no knowledge of his investigation.
“Why would it make sense to appoint someone a commissioner if you know they’re under criminal investigation?” said Adams, who named Ulrich to the top buildings slot in May 2022.
Ulrich resigned about six months later as the probe swirled.
Adams went on to specifically say that he did not tip off his former underling, adding he didn’t want to get “distracted” by the case now.
“The DA has his job, and I have my job,” Adams said. “I’m not going to be distracted. I got to navigate this wonderful city out of the challenges we are facing.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal probe includes allegations of misconduct from before Ulrich took over the Buildings Department, sources previously told The Post. And it may relate to alleged related favors dating back to his time as a city councilman from Queens.
Ulrich, a Republican, abdicated his city job in November after Bragg’s office took his phone and started questioning him.
Prosecutors have been looking into whether Ulrich got a deal on a below-market-rate apartment and if he accepted a discounted couch from someone who had business with his department, the New York Times has said.
An indictment has been widely expected for several weeks.
Sources also told The Post that the former Republican councilman had potentially racked up debts in backroom Ozone Park card games frequented by mob associates.
Ulrich joined the Adams administration in January 2022, when he took over as a senior adviser. He later took over the buildings department – a job that paid him more than $243,000 a year.
Besides a battle with alcoholism — which Ulrich announced in an April 2021 Facebook post — he was a persistent gambler who reported winnings of between $5,000 and $47,999 on his ethics disclosures in 2016 and 2017.
He also reported the same range of winnings from the New York State Lottery in 2018, 2019 and 2020, according to the disclosures.
During the May meeting, Adams reportedly asked Ulrich to hand his phone to a member of the mayor’s security detail.
Then he said that “a little birdie’ told him Ulrich’s friend was deep in illegal gambling and that Ulrich should be wary, according to the Daily News.
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the mayor, denied the account in the story.
“The mayor has not received any requests from the Manhattan DA surrounding this matter and has never spoken to Mr. Ulrich about this investigation, either before or after the matter became public,” Levy said.
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